Deus Ex series was revived with the first game ‘Human Revolution’ getting a release on the PS3, PC and Xbox 360 in 2011. It received majority positive reviews from the critics and it also marked the return of the series to the consoles and PC.
Square Enix Montreal has followed up the story in Human Revolution in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, that takes the story of the Deus Ex universe further while also improving on its gameplay.
In term of the basic gameplay, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided seems to inherit the core gameplay concepts from Deus Ex: Human Revolution and then iterates and improves on it. The story of the game is also set after the events in Human Revolution but despite the game being a sequel, there is a pretty great introduction and summary of Human Revolution available right at the start of the game. If you haven’t played Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you should have no trouble in starting with Mankind Divided if you watch the story summary.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an open ended game which gives the players freedom of choice to approach each objective however they want. Whether they want to try their hand at stealth or action, the game never stops telling the player about the choices that they are given for approaching each of the mission. The choices given to the player do have an impact on the story of the game, so they are not entirely meaningless.
The game is also full of attention to detail that results in a world that often feels alive. Adam Jensen can basically converse with anyone on the street and get their views on the current situation. Since the story takes place at a time when the tension between humans and those with augmentations is all time high, there is a certain atmosphere of unrest throughout the game’s main hub world. This can be seen right at the start of the game as the player has to make their way through a train station, only to be asked to present their identity at multiple checkpoints.
Graphically speaking, It is disappointing to see that there is no big jump in visual fidelity compared to its predecessor. There is also a mix of real-time cutscenes with pre-rendered cutscenes, which can be distracting since the pre-rendered cutscenes, despite offering better visuals, often have smaller subtitles compared to the real-time cutscenes. Perhaps the developers could have worked on consistency of the size of the subtitles, but this is more of a minor nitpick in my case.
The best part of the gameplay is, without a doubt, the use of augmentations that can be utilized by Adam Jensen. There is a large variety of augmentations available and they can be used by the player for a play style that they deem fit. They can be powered up and new augmentations can be unlocked through the use of PRAXIS points. These augmentations can all be activated with the press of a button. While they can make the game easier, they also spice up the gameplay making it much more exciting than a standard first person shooter with stealth elements.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was usually criticized for its boss fights and it seems like the developers have taken the feedback to their heart and completely removed the boss fights altogether. While this can be a disappointment for the fans, it actually improves the flow of the game since we don’t have to worry about focusing on a set of augmentations for the boss fights.
The main story will take a fair share of you time. There is also some replay value present in the form of multiple difficulty settings that have an important role in how the encounters play out in the game. Aside from that, there are some short side missions available outside of the main campaign. These side missions are called Jensen stories. While not directly related to the main game, they give a chance to test out the various augmentations.
There is also a new type of gameplay mode called Breach mode. This mode attempts to simplify the gameplay of the main game and feels more like a rushed mini game. Players can try to achieve the top score on leaderboards by completing the game on the provided maps. While it adds some value to the overall package, it is easily the weakest link in the game.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a worthy successor to Human Revolution that takes the shortcomings of its predecessor and improves on it in several ways. Despite the controversy surrounding its launch, the developers have managed to create an experience that will have a lasting impact on the player.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is available for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. It was developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. This reviews covers the PS4 version of the game.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided offers the players the freedom to choose their own story. The gameplay shines through the use of augmentations and the story never takes itself lightly by focusing on the tension between humans and augmented humans. If you have enjoyed your time with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you shouldn't miss out on Adam Jensen's latest adventure.